Kreider’s Blood Clot, About Last Night, and Other Holiday Musings

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearly at the halfway point of the 2017-18 NHL season.  As I type this, the Vegas Golden Knights are sitting alone at the top of the Western Conference, with 50 points from 35 games played.  The New Jersey Devils can’t stop winning (yuck), the LA Kings are back, and the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres appear to be locked in a battle for the #1 pick in next year’s draft.  It’s been a strange year so far, to say the least.

The same holds true for our beloved Rangers.  Panic set in quickly in October, the ship was steadied somewhat in November, and December has been largely mediocre, but could have been much worse if not for guys named Lundqvist and Pavelec.  Here, in no particular order, are some thoughts on the Rangers, and the NHL as a whole.

  • It was just announced that Chris Kreider was diagnosed with a blood clot in his right arm, and will be out indefinitely.  This is a scary, serious medical issue (an untreated clot can lead to a stroke or a heart attack) and Kreider will need to make sure the clot is taken care of entirely before he resumes any hockey-related activity.  The estimate as of now is that he will miss 6-8 weeks.  More on that below.
  • About last night… the Rangers played a really solid game.  As Dave mentioned in his recap, the process was much improved, especially in terms of zone exits and entries (which really are the key to playing cohesive hockey).  The results were there as well, if not in terms of goals.  The Rangers generated 18 high danger scoring chances to Washington’s 9.  If not for Philipp Grubauer’s acrobatics, the Rangers would’ve won the game handily in regulation.
  • I attended both last night’s game, as well as the pre-holiday break match with Toronto.  My “eye test” certainly confirms the last point, but I also noticed that Washington played a much more passive game than the Leafs.  As soon as the Rangers got possession of the puck, the Caps’ defensemen backed off, a stark contrast to the high pressure and speed game of the Leafs, which gave the Rangers fits.  Washington is not what they once were, despite the skill on their top two lines.
  • So, about those lines and defense pairs.  Sure, they worked out last night, though the Kreider injury forced AV to promote Pavel Buchnevich from his (ridiculous) fourth line role.  But the idea that “the coach pushed all the right buttons” (which is the narrative that beat writers pushed today) is patently absurd.  Let’s see if the success is sustainable.  Side note: although the Ryan McDonagh-Nick Holden pairing had a strong game, Nick Holden is not a top-pair defenseman.  That said, I thought the other two pairs were solid (shout out to Marc Staal and Brady Skjei for rocking a 69 CF% together while seeing heavy deployment in the defensive zone).
  • Kevin Shattenkirk was noticeably good last night, and he seemed to work well with Brendan Smith, whose game is steadily improving.
  • With Chris Kreider out until March, the Rangers are in an interesting situation.  Vinni Lettieri is going to get the first crack at filling the 12th forward spot, but he’ll likely be bumped from the lineup when Jesper Fast returns.  Also, while Lettieri has offensive upside, he probably won’t be asked to fill the top six role vacated by Kreider.  The Rangers will certainly be exploring the trade market as the deadline approaches, but might Filip Chytil get a crack?  He’s off to a flying start at the World Junior Championships for the Czech Republic; ditto Lias Andersson, who’s captaining Team Sweden.
  • The Winter Classic is fast approaching, meaning now is a great time to go through some YouTube clips of the Rangers three previous outdoor games (four, if you count the 1991 preseason game against the Kings in Las Vegas).  My favorite?  Embarrassing the Devils and Martin Brodeur in 2014.
  • Speaking of the Classic, I really miss HBO’s 24/7 series in the lead-up to the NHL’s showpiece event.  The NHL-produced, watered down version that airs on NBCSN truly pales in comparison.  Also, given that each episode is 30 minutes long with commercials, our beloved Rangers only get roughly 12 minutes of screen time.
  • Here are my halfway point playoff predictions:
    • East: CBJ, NJ, NYR, NYI, PIT, TB, BOS, TOR
    • West: NSH, WPG, STL, CHI, LA, SJ, DAL, VGK
  • Seriously, the Golden Knights are in first place?

That’s all from me.  Have a great New Year, folks.


"Kreider's Blood Clot, About Last Night, and Other Holiday Musings", 4 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.

11 thoughts on “Kreider’s Blood Clot, About Last Night, and Other Holiday Musings

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 1:50 pm


    Good stuff and agree with most of it. Just two points to make here….

    1) Saying “AV pushed all the right buttons” is no more or less absurd than 90% of the blogosphere losing their minds because an NHL head coach decided to shake up his lineup. The point is, yesterday’s overreaction was what was really absurd. And I agree, the chacterization heralding AV as some kind of genius for simply doing what coaches do is also a big overreaction.

    None of it was a big deal folks…that’s the takeaway. Coaches do this stuff all the time.

    A few interesting quotes from last night….

    “When you switch everything up halfway through the season, that definitely sends a message,” said Kevin Hayes. “I don’t take it as a jab. I see it as motivation. It kind of rejuvenates the group. It was not a good feeling in this room before we went off for Christmas. We were definitely trending the wrong way. When you talk about shots, there’s a difference between quantity and quality, but we were giving up both. We couldn’t go on that way. I personally looked at this as a challenge and I think that’s the way the rest of the guys approached it, too. I mean, something had to change.”

    “I think it kind of gets everybody engaged,” said Marc Staal. “You can get rather stagnant.”

    Yep, sounds like the guys were just devastated by AV’s decisions yesterday. 🙂

    Then there was this from AV regarding Buch…

    “Butchie has been going up and down in the last three games. If somebody is off, I’m not going to hesitate to make a switch and to do what we have to do to play a good game. Butchie has been a good player for us, and I know that he’s going to continue to be a good player for us.”

    Translation—“I’m not getting what I need right now from a guy who is key to our success. So we need more from him.”

    And we have people out here who think this is somehow a bad thing, that the coach should expect more out of a key player who has more to give?

    2) I hear what you are saying about Holden, but still, this is the roster, right? What better options are there at the moment on defense? Our defense is not as good as we had hoped it would be. So it will either get better as players improve, like Smith, or a trade will need to happen. Not sure what else AV can do at the moment.

    Last night was encouraging. Now we see where it all goes with two key forwards out for awhile.

    • Dec 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      I do not think AV is doing a bad job this year. I also do not have an issue when a coach sometimes has a top skill player like Buch starting the game on the 4th line. I have seen players who start on the 4th line and as the game goes on, the bench gets shorter and a player like Buch and has moved up to the other lines during the game and situations.

      Looking at this team this year and not having Tanner Glass here, makes me think that maybe it was not all AV playing a crap player like Glass,,remember the big Cigar- Glen Sather is still here and he is old school, just saying..

      Nick Holden, I am sorry needs to go, if the Rangers can every get a solid RHD to play on the top pair, the Defensive would be a more balance group.

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    I think it AV’s fault that Kreider got a blood clot. Just remember that if anything bad happens it’s always the coach’s fault and if we win it was an accident. Av is a bad man doing bad things to kids

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Why would Lettieri likely be bumped from the lineup when Fast returns?

    Let’s see how he does first. I could easily see him surpassing Carey on the depth chart with a few good showings and sticking around after Fast returns.

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    AV will not be the coach forever, but for as long as he is, my first and second instinct will be to give him the benefit of the doubt over anyone whose contributions (as poster or commenter) to the team’s social media universe has presumably not allowed them to give up their day job. I’m sorry to call someone out, but here is my point: who are you going to trust more, AV, or some guy posting here under the name avsucks?

    Can you imagine what it would be like in the team offices, the coaches’ room, or the locker room, if the inhabitants of those rooms allowed themselves to swing to emotional extremes like folks do here, or were constantly second guessing each other after every game, using Corsi or any other metric, good, bad, or indifferent?

    In sum, running the team is a very different undertaking, requiring a much steadier hand, than making comments online. Even beat reporters, for all the speculation and grandstanding they do, seemed sober compared to the way this site acted over the last two weeks.

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Sweden vs Czech Republic on NHL Network right now. Andersson vs Chytil!

    • Dec 28, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Why cant they shown these games on NHL gamecenter?

    • Dec 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      AV, with his tri-citizenship of Canada-Sweden-Czech, healthy scratched both players.

      This tax bill is making me cranky.

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Watching the Sweden vs Czech Republic game….Lias Andersson out doing Filip Chytil….both look good though….Andersson has more edge to him for sure

    • Dec 28, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      Assuming these two can make the jump next year, and there seems to be every indication they will and play ”top nine”’ we should be set at center for years to come.
      They push both Carey and DD out of the lineup, and fast to 4th line…..
      Resigning grabner should be a priority as well as seeing what nash will sign for to stay here.
      Prospect Ty Ronning lighting it up in juniors …..
      Good news……….

  • Dec 28, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Wishing Kreds a full recovery with the blood clot. Coaches are always jiggling their lineups.. Scotty Bowman did it and it seemed to work out for him.

    Looking forward to seeing what Lettieri can bring to the team. He showed some hustle and energy in the preseason and has some good puck skills.

    I also thought the Rangers Blueline looked steady last night. Smith is effective when he doesn’t try to do too much and Holden was actually using his big frame to win puck battles. Skjei is a treat to watch.

    Hayes and Nash are monsters are the pk and I like the Zuc Zib chemistry. The Rangers are a good hockey club. They may be buyers at the trade deadline.

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